Global interconnectedness is a matter of course for Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, as well as one of the necessary conditions for its capacity to compete. As an international place of research and learning, the university has, with its internationalization strategy and mission statement, committed itself especially to the crossing of borders between nations and cultures. The university understands internationalization to be a cross-sectional task with elements in all of the academic and managerial areas. Nearly 400 European partner universities in the ERASMUS program and 115 further partnerships with universities from every continent allow the students, researchers, artists, and administrative staff to have worldwide mobility.
In every one of JGU’s courses of study, students have the option of spending one or two semesters abroad. Furthermore, there are special courses of study and modules which are offered in collaboration with international universities. JGU prepares its students for the international workplace by offering more than 650 courses held in languages other than German and numerous foreign language courses.
European University in the FORTHEM Alliance
In 2019, the FORTHEM Alliance – a transnational association of the universities in Dijon, Jyväskylä, Mainz, Opole, Palermo, Riga and Valencia – was selected as one of only 17 networks in the European Universities Initiative of the European Commission. JGU coordinates the FORTHEM Alliance, which aims to develop innovative forms of international collaboration in teaching and research as well as cooperation with regional, extramural partners.
Interculturality as a Research Topic
One feature unique to JGU in terms of internationalization is the Faculty of Translation Studies, Linguistics, and Cultural Studies in Germersheim. Not only is the faculty one of the leading European establishments for training interpreters and translators, but interculturality is also a leading research topic. The latter is also true for the Center for Intercultural Studies (ZIS), JGU’s interdisciplinary research platform, which provides scientific accompaniment to the intercultural discourse on campus.
JGU’s Internationalization Strategy
The internationalization strategy of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and its faculties was adopted by the Senate on February 15, 2019 and now serves as basis for establishing a concrete catalogue of measures, which is to be completed in 2020.
The internationalization strategy is based on the following objectives:
- Connected in One World – Expanding Partnerships and Networks: JGU will expand and consolidate its international cooperative network in the next years, motivated by the acquisition of new perspectives, by learning with and from the best, complying with international standards and being able to help shape these.
- Gutenberg Campus – “lnternationalization at Home”: The foundation for all of the international activities at JGU is an open, multilingual, and intercultural campus in Mainz and Germersheim. This international research, teaching, learning, and work environment is meant to include all of the members of the university. In addition to promoting an international life and workplace, the measures for “internationalization at home” put into practice the internationalization of the JGU curriculum.
- “Higher Education without Borders” – Increasing International Mobility: Compared to other German higher education institutions, JGU students’ international mobility is already high. In addition to the continued increase in JGU students’ international mobility, teaching staffs’, researchers’, and employees’ stays abroad will be promoted. At the same time, measures will be increased for guest students, visiting scholars and visiting administrative staff, including the Mainz Academy of Fine Arts and the Mainz School of Music.
- Attracting International Talent – Marketing und Recruiting: The appeal of the courses of study and the quality of the research conducted are a major factor in attracting qualified international students, artists, and researchers. Against the backdrop of growing global competition, it is vital for JGU to stand out internationally and optimize its outreach to its target groups abroad.
- Welcome to Mainz – Optimizing Starting Conditions: JGU would like to continually improve its service and integration offers for international students, artists, and researchers. First steps were taken by building a central Welcome Center and further information and service offices. These will be consolidated and expanded so that every aspect of Mainz’ welcome culture – from first contact to the admissions process to everyday life on campus or, respectively, the research activity on campus – is connected.
- Supporting Internationalization – JGU’s Internationalization Monitoring: JGU’s internationalization strategy is based on a set of key internationalization data, which is collected in close collaboration with central and decentralized institutions. The university management uses the key data set to help make decisions for establishing new geographical focus points, for the promotion of interdisciplinary international research and teaching partnerships and for managing campus-wide further education, advising, and mobility.
In order to implement the internationalization strategy, the faculties, central departments and staff units, central institutions, partnership representatives, ERASMUS coordinators, as well as more than 30 advisory centers work hand in hand. JGU supports its members for the process of internationalization with its own funds and offers an extensive “Welcome Service” to its international visitors.